- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 1, 2020

Sen. Elizabeth Warren helped cement President Trump’s likely impeachment acquittal with one of the questions she posed during trial, according to Sen. Ted Cruz.

Ms. Warren’s question during Thursday’s session sought to impugn the credibility of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. by saying his credibility was on the line in the impeachment trial.

Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said the question seemed desired to boost Ms. Warren’s struggling presidential campaign, but its immediate effect was to irk key GOP senators who realized Democrat’s‘ strategy to prolong the trial was centered on trying to drag the chief justice ever deeper into the action.

“Elizabeth Warren helped defeat the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Mr. Cruz said late Friday on a new episode of his podcast “The Verdict.”

“That stunt helped deliver the votes of Lisa and Lamar.”

Lisa is Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, and Lamar is Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican

They turned out to be the two key swing votes in deciding the trial should not call witnesses.

Ms. Murkowski, in her statement Friday explaining why she would oppose witnesses after seeming to be supportive of the concept earlier in the week, said it had “become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice.”

“I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another,” she said.

Mr. Cruz said Ms. Warren’s question was the key to that conclusion.

Mr. Alexander was the 50th vote against witnesses and Ms. Murkowski became the crucial 51st vote.

In the case of a 50-50 tie, the chief justice would have been under pressure to cast a tie-breaking vote. With Ms. Murkowski in board, the GOP was able to avoid that and preserve the chief justice’s independence.

Chief Justice Roberts made clear he would have declined to cast a vote anyway.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Democrats’ floor leader, pointed out that a previous Chief Justice had cast tie-breaking votes in 1868 in the trial of President Andrew Johnson. Chief Justice Roberts countered that he didn’t see those isolated incidents as enough precedent for him to insert himself into the highly charged political proceedings of another branch of government in 2020.

Mr. Cruz said when a left-wing group put out an ad Friday with Chief Justice Roberts wearing a superimposed Trump campaign MAGA hat that “ticked off” Republicans, and cemented the decision not to call witnesses.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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